What Is Kantara Initiative?

Kantara Initiative is a new global identity, Web and developer community made up of enterprise deployers, mobile operators, web 2.0 service providers, eGovernment agencies, IT vendors, and consumer electronics vendors, along with developers and members of the open source, legal and privacy communities. These individuals and organizations are coming together here to collaboratively address the harmonization and interoperability challenges that exist between enterprise identity systems, Web 2.0 applications and services, and Web-based initiatives.

Kantara Initiative is an independent non-profit organization formed as a Program of IEEE-ISTO (www.ieee-isto.org) for secretariat and legal support.  Kantara Initiative is governed by a volunteer Leadership Council made up of the Chairs of all Work Groups.  It is funded by the support of Members, especially Trustee level Members.  Anyone who wishes to make the financial investment in Kantara Initiative can be a Trustee. The heart of Kantara Initiative is its Work Groups and Discussion Groups. Membership is encouraged but not required for being a full voting Participant in any Work Group or Discussion Group (and non-Members can serve on the Leadership Council).

Why was Kantara Initiative formed?

Kantara Initiative was formed by leaders of foundations and associations working on various aspects of digital identity, aka "the Venn of Identity," to be robust and well-funded focal point for collaboration to address industry issues we all share: Interoperability and Compliance Testing; Identity Assurance; Policy and Legal Issues; Privacy; Ownership and Liability; UX and Usability; Cross-Community Coordination and Collaboration; Education and Outreach; Market Research; Use Cases and Requirements; Harmonization; and Tool Development.

Who are the members of Kantara Initiative and what is the organizational, membership and fee structure of Kantara Initiative?

Kantara Initiative has been co-formed by the DataPortability Project, the Concordia Project, Liberty Alliance, the Internet Society (ISOC), the Information Card Foundation (ICF), OpenLiberty.org and XDI.org. All of these organizations are now members of Kantara Initiative. The name of the organization was announced during the April 20 Identity Workshop at RSA Conference 2009, at which time the co-founders introduced key goals, benefits to the industry, and issued a formal call for participation.  Kantara Initiative is unique in that it has been organized to ensure that there are zero barriers to participation, which means all individuals and organizations are able to participate in the development of Kantara Initiative output.  Kantara Initiative membership fees have been established to keep the organization financially stable over the short and long-term and to ensure the widest possible participation - at all levels - among the vendor, deployer, developer, open source, legal and privacy communities.  A full membership kit, information and fees is available in the Membership section.

Membership Level*






















*All Membership Fees are Annual. All amounts are in US Dollars. Membership Levels are dependent on the size of the organization joining, defined as follows:

LIC = "Individual Contributor" = an individual; NP = "Non-Profit" = any non-governmental non-profit organization; L0 = "Level 0" = 1-100 employees; L1 = "Level 1" = 101-1000 employees; L2 = "Level 2" = 1001-25000 employees; L3 = "Level 3" = more than 25000 employees

Is Kantara Initiative a Standards Setting Organization?

Kantara Initiative is not a standards setting organization for technical specifications.  The output of Kantara Initiative is called a Recommendation.  Any kind of work can be done in Kantara Initiative but if the work is a technical specification it must be submitted to an SSO upon completion.  Other "standards" work such as Operational Frameworks or Usability Guidelines or Interoperability Testing Procedures are the primary focus of Kantara Initiative and will be both developed and maintained by the organization.

Why does Kantara Initiative have multiple IPR Policies?

Due to the nature of Kantara Initiative, as a focal point for collaboration between stakeholders across the Venn of Identity, we have chosen an IPR regime that is inclusive.  There is a list of pre-approved IPR Policies that founders of a Work Group can choose from.  In addition, there is a clear process for proposing a new IPR Policy to the Leadership Council in a WG proposal which will be taken to the Board of Trustees for approval.  We have every expectation the list of IPR Policies will grow as the community takes advantage of the Kantara Initiative infrastructure for collaboration.  A list of available IPR policies is available. 

What Commitment Must I make To Get Involved in Kantara Initiative?

There are various levels of involvement.  You can join Discussion Groups with no commitment.  If you wish to join a Work Group you need only agree to the IPR Policy being used by that Work Group.

What does Kantara Initiative hope to accomplish?

Our collective goal is to speed the adoption of an interoperable, secure and privacy-respecting Internet, spanning applications, devices and fixed and mobile networks by bringing the enterprise, government and Web communities together to address and solve pressing harmonization and interoperability challenges in the identity sector.

The formation of Kantara Initiative is being driven by a common purpose -- to accelerate adoption of digital identity solutions by Relying Parties -- the organizations, applications and services that require identity credentials to complete an online transaction. In order to do this, many industry stakeholders are coming together to define common goals and strategic adoption and marketing efforts that will benefit all standards-based solutions available to the ecosystem today.  These solutions are based on protocols that may include OpenID, OAuth, InfoCard, ID-WSF, WS*, IAF, IGF, XDI, XACML, and SAML.

What is unique about Kantara Initiative?

The formation of Kantara Initiative marks the first time so many stakeholders representing varying initiatives have come together to address common challenges collaboratively.  Kantara Initiative founders, members and participants recognize the success individual organizations and initiatives have in the market today, but they also recognize that the industry is at a crossroad, and without collaboration deployment of interoperable identity systems will continue to be delayed.  Kantara Initiative participants and members are leveraging the experience and successes of each other to collaboratively advance interoperable identity solutions as well as incubate new and emerging ideas.

How can so many organizations work together effectively?

The organizations, participants and members coming together within Kantara Initiative understand the urgency involved in eliminating market fragmentation among multiple identity specifications and fostering interoperability between enterprise and Web 2.0 applications and services.  The Kantara Initiative membership model will provide the flexibility and organizational support required to ensure maximum collaboration among experts and projects leads that will lead to speeding deliverables to the marketplace. Additionally, since different IPR models are available for the projects to choose from as they charter, this model supports the different ways that members might want to operate depending on the type of work they are doing.

What are the benefits to participating organizations and individuals?

Collaboration between enterprise and Web communities within Kantara Initiative will make it easier to leverage the work of each other, leading to the creation of holistic identity solutions that are delivered to the market faster.  Organizations and individuals joining Kantara Initiative have an opportunity to shape the future of digital Identity management - from conception and incubation of a project, participating in the final vote on projects, to supporting short and long-term adoption strategies.

Who can/should join Kantara Initiative?

Identity organizations and their members, vendors and their employees working in the identity sector, developers, open source communities, legal, privacy and business experts - all organizations and individuals interested in contributing to a safer Internet for users and people are encourage to join the Kantara Initiative community. Participation is free, with no barriers to participation.

What are the meanings of the classifications of individuals on the online Group Roster pages?

"Voting" indicates the individual has signed the Group Participation Agreement (GPA) and is a voting member of the Group. "Non-Voting" indicates that the individual has signed the GPA but is NOT (currently) a voting member of the Group. A "Non-Voting" Participant may move to "Voting" status at any time by joining a meeting and advising the Chair of their intent to join the quorum. "Observer" indicates the individual has requested read-only access to the Group's mailing list and has NOT signed a GPA.